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Veteran’s Stand Down at the V.A. Togus Both Moving and Uplifting

As I drove to Augusta on Saturday, I decided I really wanted to stop in at the Veteran’s Administration at Togus and see my pal Susie Whittington.  She’s been working hard getting the word out about the Homeless Veteran’s Stand Down and I, being someone with the utmost respect for those who serve our country, wanted to see what this day was all about…..

From the moment I walked into building 206, I saw nothing but smiles from both the staff and the vets they were there to serve.  ”Where can I find Susie?” I asked.  ”Walk down this hall and I can just about guarantee you’ll find her,” said the employee who let me in.  Well I didn’t find her in that hall, or the next or even the next, which were all filled with veterans getting everything from help with insurance to screenings to massages.  Where I did find her was upstairs in the cafeteria where all of the veterans were having a good meal.  Susie wasn’t eating.  Rather, she was walking around with her gigantic signature smile and taking pictures of all the happy faces.  It was here she introduced me to Lorna.

Lorna, another one of the people charged with keeping the day flowing smoothly, showed me around to all the different areas where homeless veterans were being helped.  Having volunteered at Togus when I was a teenager (and my mom worked there….and now Marie Anne, my wife, does), I was familiar with the lay of the land and many of the hallways brought back bittersweet memories for me.

Finally and appropriately, at the end of the tour, Lorna brought me to the tent where the veterans would end their visit, picking up everything from new underwear and clothing to jackets and duffel bags.

This is the best way I could have spent a rainy Saturday morning.  Visiting with Susie and her family, thanking veterans for their service and seeing a group of people who care about them so much.  We should all be so thankful for their service to our country.   Without our U.S. veterans there would be no U.S.  It’s sad to see so many homeless but wonderful to see that their service isn’t going unnoticed.

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